AFL Round 21: Cats joins Dogs on second tier, behind Pies and Saints

By Josh Barnstable

The big battle between the animals. Dog v Cat. The last time these animals clashed, it was the Cats in the best game of the year. Brad Johnson, who missed after the siren, lost the game for the Doggies. Everyone is looking forward to the rematch. The Dogs have the stumbles but were impressive last week against the Lions while the Cats’ last genuine game was in Round 13 against Port Adelaide. Nervously, I pick the Bulldogs on the radio. I’ve been thinking about this tip all week.

After a pretty full-on week that included my birthday and an end-of-season break-up with Waaia, I finally come to the end of the week with a bang. It’s Athletics Day at school. Always a good day to lie around on the high jump mats and get a tan. This time, though, it’s a grey, windy, rainy day and I decide on whether to go to school or not. I decide to go, but after an hour of putting up with sideways rain and wind, I text mum to come pick me up. I spend a lazy afternoon at home on my new laptop, and soon it’s 7.30pm, time for the footy to start.

The first quarter begins with Harry Taylor kicking the first goal from 50m before Mitch Hahn kicked the Doggies first. Lindsay Gilbee goals from a tight angle and then Josh Hill runs into an open goal. Shannon Byrnes and Tom Hawkins reply with late goals while the Dogs mark their territory: the goalposts. They lead by 3 points at quarter time, 3.5 to 3.2.

The second quarter starts with an Adam Cooney snapping a goal followed by Hill getting on the end of a brilliant Bob Murphy pass. Two Cam Mooney goals get Geelong back in the game before goals from Matthew Boyd and Scott Welsh see the Dogs out to a 19 point lead, 7.12 to 5.5.

The third quarter begins and goals from Callan Ward and Murphy see the margin out to a large 30 points. Goals to Hawkins and Ryan Gamble cut the margin before Jason Akermanis goals from a set-shot to take the margin back out to 23 points. Late goals to Hawkins and Shane Mumford see the margin cut to 10 points, followed by goals to Mooney and Mathew Stokes see the Cats take the lead by 3 points at three quarter time, 11.9 to 10.12.

I’m looking forward to a ripping final quarter and it starts in good fashion. Brad Johnson faces his demons, kicking a goal from almost the exact same spot as the one he missed to win the game against the Cats. The Cats and Dogs trade goals, Byrnes, Boyd then Joel Selwood on the run from 50m out. The Dogs answer with a goal to Johnson, followed by a goal out of the centre to Cooney. Hill marks and goals to take the margin out to 13 points. Mooney snaps a late goal, and the Cats can barely see the light. The Dogs hold up the play though, and a goal after the siren to Shaun Higgins rubs salt in the wounds for Geelong, the Dogs avenging their close defeat earlier in the year with a 14 point upset over the Cats, 16.14.110 to 14.12.96.

Perhaps it is time. Finally time for the Cats to be withdrawn from being considered the powerhouse in the competition. Two losses in three games. They are still in the premiership race, but barely. Perhaps they have become like the Bulldogs. Good, but not good enough to beat the top teams. The Doggies beat a top team on the out tonight, but they’ll need to be able to topple the likes of Collingwood and St Kilda come finals time to be considered the X-factor.

Western Bulldogs 3.5—7.12—10.12—16.14.110
Geelong  3.2—5.5—11.9—14.12.96


Western Bulldogs-Hill 3, Boyd 2, Cooney 2, Johnson 2, Akermanis, Hahn, Gilbee, Higgins, Murphy, Ward, Welsh

Geelong-Mooney 4, Hawkins 3, Byrnes 2, Mumford, Gamble, Stokes, Taylor, Selwood


Western Bulldogs-Boyd, Cooney, Johnson, Harbrow, Hill, Murphy

Geelong-Ablett, Selwood, Corey, Mooney, Bartel


46,818 at Etihad Stadium


3: Matthew Boyd (WB)
2: Adam Cooney (WB)
1: Gary Ablett (G)

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